Schuitmaker Blue Alert legislation signed into law

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Lansing, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law legislation that will protect the public and law enforcement after an attack on an officer. Public Act 167 of 2015, sponsored by state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, will create the Blue Alert system in Michigan.

A Blue Alert will be issued when a law enforcement officer is killed or seriously wounded in the line of duty and a suspect is on the loose. Like an Amber Alert, a Blue Alert will rapidly disseminate information about the suspect across television, radio and other media.

“Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “We owe it to them to see that their attackers are apprehended quickly and brought to justice.”

“The Michigan Fraternal Order of Police is proud to be supporting Senator Schuitmaker’s legislation establishing Blue Alert, a statewide alert system for officers killed or seriously injured,” said John P. Sadowski, State Lodge president of the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police.

“Almost daily we see unprovoked attacks on law enforcement officers across the country,” added David A. Hiller, executive director of the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police.

For a Blue Alert to be issued, a law enforcement officer must have been killed or seriously injured by a suspect, the suspect must pose a serious risk or threat to the public and other officers, identifying information about the suspect must be available and the law enforcement agency must recommend activation of the Blue Alert to the State Operations Center.

In 2014, more than 50 law enforcement officers across the United States were killed by violent criminals. Michigan is the 25th state to enact Blue Alert legislation, and nine others are currently considering bills.

“It’s important that we keep the public informed,” said Schuitmaker. “The Blue Alert system will ensure the public can be on the lookout for these violent criminals.”

In 2011, Schuitmaker sponsored the legislation that created Silver Alerts, which broadcast information about missing seniors. The Amber Alert and Silver Alert notification systems have been very successful in helping to locate missing individuals.

Public Act 167 will take effect Feb. 1, 2016.